What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a concept of an online, persistent, immersive virtual world that merges multiple different virtual spaces. Futurist call it as a future iteration of the internet.
The metaverse has become all-encompassing space where commerce, education, entertainment, community-building, wellness, work and everything one would in real life and more can be accessed. As more people spend time online, digital spaces are becoming the new hangouts, making this a thriving environment for brands and influencers. But the potential of the metaverse goes beyond the avatars and digital domain, allowing for interactions that blur the boundaries of physical lives and digital platform.
But what exactly is the metaverse? And how do you get into the metaverse?
To understand where we are with this technology, let’s start by looking at the history of virtual reality (VR). Virtual Reality (VR) has been around since the early 1980s, but it was only really popularized during the 1990s when people started using them as part of video game. The idea behind Virtual Reality (VR) is that you can create an entirely new digital platform that exists inside your head.
The metaverse isn’t fully in existence, but some platforms contain metaverse-like elements. Video games currently provide the closest metaverse experience on offer. Developers have pushed the boundaries of what a game is through hosting in-game events and creating virtual economies seeding the concept of metaverse.
How can we use this technology?
There are many ways through which we can use this technology. We can create our own metaverse by using 3D printing or other technologies like Augmented Reality (AR). AR allows us to see virtual objects in real-time on top of the physical environment. It allows us to interact with them and even change their properties. For example, if you wear glasses with Augmented Reality (AR), you could see virtual information overlaid on your physical surroundings. Another way to use this technology is to build a metaverse within a game. This would be very similar to Second Life where players can enter into a virtual space and interact with each other. In fact, there have been some games already built around this idea such as Minecraft.
Why should I care about something that doesn’t necessarily exist?
Unlike a lot of things the metaverse is tough to explain for one reason: it doesn’t necessarily exist. It’s partly a dream for the future of the internet and partly a neat way to encapsulate some current trends in online infrastructure, including the growth of real-time 3D worlds.
Futurist predict the metaverse has the potential to change our lives forever. Imagine being able to meet anyone from anywhere in the world instantly. Imagine having a global community of friends who live across the globe. Imagine being able to work from home without having to worry about commuting.
Advocates from niche startups to tech giants have argued that this lack of coherence is because the metaverse is still being built, and it’s too new to define what it means.
Talking about the metaverse feels a lot like talking about the internet back in the 70s and the 80s. As the building blocks of the new form of communication were being laid down, it sparked speculation around what it would look like and how people would use it. Everyone was talking about it but few knew what it really meant or how it would work. Looking back, it didn’t turn out exactly as some people imagined.
Why is it suddenly a big thing?
Hype about digital worlds and augmented reality pops up every few years, but usually dies away.
However in 2020, one thing became very obvious, very quickly, as COVID-19 began to spread around the world: we leapfrogged five to seven years in the digital revolution,” Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon, said during his keynote at CES 2021 in January. As COVID-19 restrictions ease, the acceleration of tech and its prominence in many lives will continue.
- 93% of global consumers agree that technology is our future
- 76% say their everyday lives and activities depend on tech
- Over half (52%) say their happiness depends on it
As more of our lives are spent online, it’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish “real” life from the digitally one.
Who are the tech companies leading this space of metaverse?
There is a huge amount of excitement about the metaverse among investors and silicon valley tech players with the metaverse pegged to become an $800 billion market by 2024, and with tech giants like Facebook, er, Meta, Microsoft, Apple and Google investing big money in making it a reality, there are many industries that are testing this space for their verticals like Real Estate, Luxury Brands, Digital Lounges, Gambling, Personal Training, Remote Education, HealthCare, Online Shopping to name a few, and many more industries verticals are following them soon.